Issue(s): Thor #280
The title really should have been "Hyperion and on and on". Why? Because it features both the Squadron Sinister and Squadron Supreme versions of Hyperion. Which is ridiculous! In my opinion, there should be exactly zero Hyperions. The guy was created as a one-time stand-in for Superman by Roy Thomas so the Avengers could fight the JLA. That should have been the end of him. But then Thomas had to go and introduce another version of the character, and both have since appeared multiple times. I guess it was inevitable that they'd face off, but i'd definitely have preferred if they'd all just faded into obscurity.
But i can forgive Thomas for his geeky DC love and the "Crisis on Twin Earths" references (and the artist, Wayne Boring, was the regular Superman artist from 1938 through the late 60s, so i'm sure his appearance here isn't a coincidence). What i can't forgive him for is his terrible fists-first approach to writing super-hero stories. The first Hyperion shows up, and immediately attacks Thor.
Logically, Thor assumes that he's therefore dealing with the Sinister version, but no, Hyperion "had to be certain you were who you say you are -- and not some costume pretender." To be clear, Thor was just walking down the street when Hyperion appeared out of nowhere and attacked him. Thor didn't claim to be anyone. What if it was just some poor schlub on his way to a costume party? Anyway,with that settled, the fight continues, because now that he's gotten smacked around by Thor, Hyperion is "good and angry".
Of course, once they stop fighting and start talking, things just get worse. Hyperion is here because (ugh!) some people on his world are making a movie about the Squadron Supreme, and Hyperion needs Thor to participate in it. After Thor complains that Roy Thomas already covered the filmmaker theme in the False Ragnarok story that just ended two issues ago, Hyperion realizes that Thor wasn't even around when the Avengers fought the Squadron Supreme, so the whole conversation was pointless and could Thor please take him to the other Avengers? Roy Thomas Reversal.
No one asks why the actual Avengers need to star in a movie re-creating events that happened some time ago - do they not have actors on Hyperion's world?
Meanwhile, the Sinister version of Hyperion has been coincidentally lurking in the background, and he sneaks into Supreme Hyperion's portal.
The other Avengers turn out not to be home, so Supreme Hyperion and Thor, now buddies, decide to head back to Hyperion's world.
The Sinister version follows and takes advantage of the Doppelganger-effect to stir up some mischief along with the Supreme world's version of Lex Luthor.
Obviously intended to be a classic DC tribute more than anything that we take seriously, but it's not very well written at all. Awful dialogue. Awful characterization. Weird little in-jokes and other random things (For example, someone says to the Squadron character Captain Hawk, "Great, Cap'n Hawk -- or didn't it used to be 'American Eagle'? and he responds "What's in a name, lady?". I'm sure that's a reference to something (and i don't care what) but it's just so awfully delivered - crammed in to a single panel and so unnaturally written).
There isn't even a nice slugfest between the two Hyperions. They never wind up fighting face to face.
The art is surprisingly modern looking for a guy that's been drawing comics since the 1930s. There's some awkward storytelling, like when Sinister Hyperion sneaks into the portal in the screenshot above, but it generally looks ok. Is it wrong to attribute that more to Tom Palmer than Boring?
All complaints aside, this is probably more readable than Roy Thomas' more epic Thor storylines, like the False Ragnarok or Eternals sagas. At least since he was confined to a single issue he wasn't able to take too many detours.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor is wandering the streets of New York at the start of this issue. The MCP places this between Avengers #180-181.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showCaptain Hawk, Doctor Spectrum, Golden Archer, Hyperion, Lady Lark, Master Menace, Sinister Hyperion, Thor, Tom Thumb, Whizzer (Squadron Supreme)
The modernity of the art is due to Tom Palmer; he was able to pencil as well.
The late Don &(still-living) Maggie Thompson were longtime fanzine editors and writers. Their primary Marvel contributions were to the b&w "Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 21, 2011 12:02 AM
Fortunately, when the two Hyperions do meet, it's in a much better story.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 7, 2013 2:24 PM
This issue and a specific chapter of the Kree/Skrull War are the stories that started making me roll my eyes at Roy Thomas. Not for his obsession with obscure characters, his love of DC, or his heavy-handed dialogue. I could defend all of those if I had to. What irritates me is when he misinterpreted what's happening in the artwork and then has characters looking like idiots to go along with his interpretation. Here he confuses the two Hyperions and has one of them start to change into his secret identity and the suddenly change his mind right in the middle of it. Why? Because in one panel Hyperion is putting on a coat and hat and in the next panel the OTHER Hyperion isn't wearing that stuff. Thomas obviously thought they were the same guy and had him say something to the effect of "And now I'll change into my disguise... aw, what's the point?"
Posted by: Jay Patrick | September 25, 2013 4:57 AM
Now that I've thought about it some more, it occurs to me that I might have a detail wrong. The sequence in question might have been Evil Hyperion in BOTH panels taking OFF his civillian clothes, which Thomas mistook for the GOOD Hyperion deciding out of nowhere to put on a coat and then stop halfway through. Either way, it was obvious to me when I read it, I'm not not Mr. Continuity like Roy Thomas.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | September 25, 2013 5:05 AM
I love the Squadron Sinister! The back story on how they were made similar to DC characters is very interseting to me. Not so interesting is the confusion between Supreme/Sinister, so I agree with you there. Keeping one set of super baddies would've been fine by me.
The art in this issue is pretty good, for something not John B/John R/Sal B - my 3 favorites. Story and dialogue I agree - dumb. And I totally agree on that lame cliche superhero excuse to fight each other. I remember back when this type of hero vs hero stuff first came about, usually one was antiscoial, hence the rejection and anger with another hero bothering them. Like Sub-Mariner, Hulk, or even Silver Surfer. But 2 rational heroes slugging it out for no good reason other than the "I just wanted to check if it was really you" stuff is just plain dumb.
Posted by: Mike | July 23, 2014 11:31 PM
Somehow I missed this in all my Squadron Supreme collecting. Couldn't your site have been available twenty years ago? I never realized Master Menace had appeared before the SS maxi-series.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 11, 2015 1:06 PM
The "what's in a name" bit is just Roy Thomas having one of his characters randomly quote Shakespeare as a way of NOT answering why he'd changed his name from American Eagle to Cap'n Hawk.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 6, 2015 3:22 PM
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